Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Common Blunder and World Series Picks

It’s the top of the ninth. Your team is down one run. You’ve been facing one of the best pitchers in the game for most of the night, Roy Halladay, but you’ll get Brad Lidge, a sometimes-elite closer who’s regular season ERA was 2.96 this season. In other words, there’s about a 33% chance you produce a run in the bottom of the ninth and anything is possible when you’re playing extra innings at home. Win this game and your going to the World Series, which you haven’t won since 1954. It’s time to try to win the game, right? Wrong.

The San Francisco Giants pulled one of the most frequent blunders in professional sports last Thursday night in their Game 5 battle against the Philadelphia Phillies. Down 3-2 in the top of the ninth, San Fran elected to bring in their middle reliever, Ramon Ramirez, rather than go with their dominating closer, Brian Wilson, whose 48 saves led all of the majors. Certainly, if they were up 3-2 in the top of the ninth, they would have used Wilson and his full, dark, dyed black beard (he does actually dye it, which is in sharp contradiction to what the FOX announcers suggested earlier this postseason when they said, “He has the fakest looking real beard). Why is it more important to prevent a run when up by 1 then down by 1? It really is the same thing. In either case, the relief pitcher is brought in to secure 1 run and win the game for his team. One run is relatively easy to produce? Double, single, done. Now, two runs; that takes a lot more development (After watching the Yankees produce only 2 multi-run innings for their entire series against the Rangers I fully understand this fact). If San Francisco gave up a run in the top of the ninth the game is essentially over, especially with Lidge coming in to face them in the bottom.

To assist the clueless MLB managers, I’ve created a list of situations in which the closer should be used.

The closer should be used:

1. When your team is up by 3 runs or less in the ninth or when the score is tied in the ninth
1a. Exception 1: The starting pitcher is still lights out
2a. Exception 2: The closer has pitched a lot of innings recently, BUT
*This is only the case in a 2-3 run game
*In postseason the closer’s past-pitch count is not as high a concern

2. When your team is down by 1 run in the ninth
*Same exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions, as rule 1

3. There are 6, 5, or 4 outs left in the game and:
3a. You are up by 1 in any of the below situations
3ai. Game decides first place in division or league
3aii. Post season game
3aiii. There has been a dramatic comeback of 5 runs or greater
3aiv. You have exhausted at least 5 different relief pitchers
3av. The closer has not pitched in 2 days and will not pitch the next game

4. For extra innings:
4a. If the closer has already pitched the ninth, he will continue if for an additional inning so long as:
4ai. Game decides first place in division or league
4aii. Post season game
4aiii. There has been a dramatic comeback of 5 runs or greater
4b. The pitcher threw less than 20 pitches in the ninth and/or will not pitch for a few days.

5. Whenever he wants to if his name is Mariano Rivera
5a. If he is pitching at home in the postseason, you have permission to forgo his actual pitching and declare yourself victorious

As I watched Ramirez hustle onto the mound, I announced, “Game over. He’s gonna give up a run and no way do the Giants get 2 runs off Lidge.” As usual, I was correct. Ramirez lost control of his pitch, Jason Werth took advantage and homered, putting the Phills up by 2. Game Over. He should have never faced Ramirez.

Those against this stance would argue that saving Brian Wilson was wise, because if the Giants tied the game, he would be available in the tenth. But this really isn’t a sound argument. If the Giants had enough confidence to bring Ramirez out in the ninth, they certainly have enough confidence to bring him out in the 10th. Plus, according to the above stated closer rules, he could continue into the tenth with a relatively light workload in the ninth and because it is a postseason game. In fact, bringing in Ramirez for the ninth backfired. He got pulled before completing the inning and the Giants were forced to go another reliever (not named Brian Wilson). Instead of using just 1 pitcher, they were forced to use 2, giving them one less for a potential extra-innings game.

Despite the Game 5 blunder, the Giants advanced past Philadelphia in Game 6, sending them to the World Series against the Texas Rangers.

World Series Picks:

Game 1: Rangers at Giants, C. Lee vs. T. Lincecum
A battle between 2 of the game’s 3 best pitchers will probably see less than 4 total runs. Lincecum is great, but Lee is unstoppable and historically unparalleled.
Rangers win, 3-1.

Game 2: Rangers at Giants, C. Wilson vs. M. Cain
Both Wilson and Cain are terrific second options. San Fran cannot go down 0-2 and Cain is 8-4 at home during the season with a 2.93 Era.
Giants win, 6-3.

Game 3: Giants at Rangers, J. Sanchez vs. C. Lewis
Look for the offenses for both teams to explode in the Ranger’s first home game. Texas has one of the best offenses in the league, thus:
Rangers win, 8-4

Game 4: Giants at Rangers, M. Bumgarner vs. T. Hunter
Neither team is expected to send their ace on three days rest. Look for middle relief to be exploited for both teams. It’ll be Game-1-ALCS-esque for the Rangers.
Giants win, 7-5.

Game 5: Giants at Rangers, T. Lincecum vs. C. Lee
If Lee was able to defeat Lincecum in Game 1 at San Francisco, what do you think he’ll do at home with the series tied at 2 and heading back to San Fran?
Rangers win, 5-1

Game 6: Rangers at Giants, Probable Starters: C. Wilson vs. M. Cain
Same matchup, same location, same result. C.J. Wilson struggles early and San Francisco dominates the relief.
Giants win, 9-3

Game 7: Rangers at Giants, Probably Starters: C. Lewis vs. J. Sanchez
Same matchup, different location, same result. Neither pitcher is game 7 material and I anticipate a somewhat sloppy, offensive-minded, exciting game 7.
Rangers win, 7-6.

Texas wins the World Series 4-3, capturing their first World Series title and crushing the hopes of the San Francisco fans in attendance and across the country. Cliff Lee narrowly beats out Josh Hamilton for World Series MVP.

(In other news, Brett Favre goes down with an injury. Can’t say, “I told you so.”)
(In soon to be news, Wade Phillips gets fired)


Friday, October 22, 2010

To Fire or not to Fire, That is the Question

At the conclusion of week 6, you can already forget about an undefeated season for any team in the NFL. In fact, almost as many teams have a chance at going 0-16 (Bills, Panthers) as the number of teams with a chance to finish with only one loss (Steelers, Jets, Patriots). Of the 12 playoff teams from last season, only 7 of them currently have a winning record and of the five without one, two (Charger, Dallas) are already 2 games under .500. Moreover, NFC West favorite, San Francisco, is 1-5 to go along with a slew of poor teams such as Buffalo, Cleveland, Carolina, and perennial loser, Detroit. The question is, which coaches are to blame for the current failures?

We’re So Bad Even the Wax Figure/Robot Himself, Jim Caldwell, Could Have a Better Impact

Detroit Lions

Since 2002, the Lions have had a top 10 draft pick every seasons except for 2008 and have had 5 within the top 3. Of their 9 top draft picks, they drafted 4 wide receivers, 2 quarterbacks, 1 defensive tackle, 1 linebacker, and 1 lineman. What’s missing for the most part? Offensive lineman! Eight top ten draft picks over the course of 9 years should be more than enough to take a team into the ranks of the contenders. In fact, a single effective number one pick can turn a team around in just a year or two! When discussing the Lions’ recent abysmal performances, I like to compare their draft strategy to that of the New York Jets. In the 2006 NFL draft, the Jets selected LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson with the forth pick and Nick Mangold with the 29th pick. The two have evolved into the premier players at their respective positions and through them, the Jets have become the leagues most dominant rushing team over the last three seasons. Their current success has a direct correlation to the draft strategy of 2006. Offensive lineman = future success.

Therefore, I’d say the biggest problem with the Lions is not so much the coaching staff, but the fact that all members of the front office over the last 9 seasons have run the organization like a Fantasy Football Team, drafting flashy wide receivers and highly hyped quarterbacks. BUT, and this is a big but, any coach that fails to turn top college talent into NFL talent and in doing so leads his team to a overall record of 3 and 18, deserves to have his job given to a more deserving and able minded human being. Sorry, Jim Schwartz, but you fit into this category.

Coaching Verdict: Schwartz needs to be fired. He has some individual talent (Bess, Johnson, Suh, Stafford) but seem incapable of getting W’s, which are all that matters in the NFL. I hate the term “winning culture” (honestly, what does that mean? What organization doesn’t want to win? The hard part of establishing a winning culture is actually winning) but it seems to be most appropriate here. Peace out.

Buffalo Bills

Imagine you are a hunter who’s main pray, for whatever reason, are small, tree-living rodents, such as a squirrel. Now, lets pretend you see your target squirrel in the woods. Bigger animals, such as a moose, a deer, and an elk, surround the animal. But, being that you hunt squirrels, you elect to shoot the squirrel with a gun. That was easy, the squirrel is little, weak, and no match for a bullet. But, you’re not done yet. You proceed to take the squirrel into the street, run it over with your pickup truck, grab the flattened animal and cut it in half with a machete, take the two halves of the squirrel and put them into a blender with some ice, make a squirrel smoothie, take the smoothie and feed it to one of the animals you found it near, wait for the deer to take a shit, and then light the fecal matter on fire. That seems a bit excessive given the already puny nature of the squirrel but that’s just what some divine power had in store for the animal from the beginning. That’s sort of how I see the Bills’ season.

A wise man once said regarding the Bills 2010 seasons, “The Bills have the most unjustly difficult schedule of any team in the NFL. They not only have to play 6 games against the other 3 teams in the division, but they also must play Green Bay, Minnesota, Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Pittsburg. Those are 11 possible losses right there.” You can add to that list the surprising teams of this season, the Chiefs and the Bears, as well as Jacksonville, to whom they already lost, and that leaves only 2 more possible wins. One is against the aforementioned Detroit Lions and the other is against the soon to be mentioned Cleveland Browns. The Bills are bad, but they aren’t 2-wins bad.

Coaching Verdict: Over the last 10 years the Bills have had 5 different coaches. Of course, the reason for this has been their poor performance over that same time span. However, I’m not ready to dismiss Chan Gailey. The Bills are yet to play a team with a losing record and probably will not do so until week 10. I already agree with two of the moves the Bills made this season; releasing Trent Edwards and trading Marshawn Lynch. The quarterback situation was a necessary change after tremendous disappointment and the combination of Jackson and Spiller is a fine one at running back. If the Bills can win 4 games this season, I would consider Gailey’s performance to be a success. As of now, Gailey’s still got the job.

Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns and head coach Eric Mangini are kind of like the food at Union’s dinning halls. You know it’s gonna be bad, and perhaps even worse; you know its going to be boring. There seems to be no hope for change and you wonder after every encounter why things are the same as they were a year-and-a-half ago. The franchise has failed to improve because of utter stupidity, indecision, and second guessing concerning the starting quarterback position. The question in 2009: First-round pick, Brady Quinn, or sixth-round-nobody-but-relatively-successful-pre-injury Derek Anderson. In a classic dilemma teams must face every season, Cleveland elected to go with the rarely seen, quarterback-by-committee strategy, making three different switches throughout the course of the season. After realizing they shit the bed with this approach, Mangini and company elected to rid themselves of both and start over with the absolute definition of mediocrity, Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace, one and two on the depth chart respectively. After realizing this was a mistake as well, they decided that second-level talent and rookie, Colt McCoy, was to be the new starter. All these changes proved to be as helpful as the comment cards given to the Union dinning hall employees.

Coaching Verdict: This is all a direct effect of terrible coaching. Eric Mangini is among the worst head coaches in the National Football League. His smug nature and inability to instill anything resembling trust or respect among his players is only surpassed by his utter lack of understanding regarding clock management and how to win football games. After watching him run a Jets team, which was just as talented as the one that advanced to the AFC championship last season, into the ground with the assistance of Brett Favre, I was shocked to find that there existed a team in the NFL desperate enough to pay for his services (They soon found these “services” are nowhere to be found). Mangini should be fired today, no question about it. Each day he retains his job is a slap in the face to all the soon to be head coaches eagerly awaiting an opportunity to succeed. I cannot be more certain of this obvious choice.

Carolina Panthers

Much like the Buffalo Bills, the Carolina Panthers have the unfortunate fate of being a less-than-stellar team dealing with a challenging schedule. However, they do get to play the NFC West, which are all opportunities for a win, as well as their games against the Bucs. Again, like the Bills, they are yet to play a team with a losing record. The bottom line here is the Panthers are too one-dimensional to compete with most NFL teams. They rely almost exclusively on the run game, and to the horror of their fans, the Panthers currently rank 26th in rushing offense. DeAngelo Williams is yet to eclipse the 100 yard rushing mark in any game.

Coaching Verdict: John Fox has earned the respect of most people across the league because the guy produces successful football teams. In his eight seasons as the Panther’s head coach, he has taken them to the playoffs three times (once to the Super bowl) and has never done worse than 7-9. However, that will probably change this season as his team has already accumulated 5 loses. The bottom line is that Carolina lacks in the talent department and I doubt there is any amount of coaching that can make up for their atrocious quarterback situation. Fox has proven that he can get the job done and he should still have his position at the conclusion of the season.

Class C Underachiever

San Francisco 49ers

Many people, including myself, picked the San Francisco 49ers to run away with the AFC West and contend for a deep playoff run. After a 1-5 start, that is beginning to look less likely. Perhaps the team is underachieving, or maybe, the expectations were too high for a team that finished 8-8 last year. Led by a fiery head coach and arguably the league’s best defensive player, Patrick Willis, the defense of San Fran was supposed to be among the best in the league. Well, the unit has actually been ok (they rank 11th and 19th in passing and rushing defense), which, considering they are 1-5, is more like pretty good. Frank Gore has been solid at running back and Vernon Davis is on pace for another good season. The problem however, and this is a problem of cataclysmic proportions, is that the fans of San Fran chanted “We Want Carr!” towards the conclusion of their week 5 game. As in, “We Want David Carr!” As in, “Alex Smith is So Bad We’d Rather Subject Ourselves to David Carr, One of the Biggest Busts of the Last 10 Years!”

Coaching Verdict: I really like Singletary and I really, really want to think he’s a good fit. How can you not love his enthusiasm (Can’t play with ‘em, can’t do it!) or the fact that Patrick Willis seems to be the second coming of his head coach? Prior to the start of this season, Singletary was 13-12 as the head coach of the 49ers and in his defense, much like some of the other coaches and teams on this list, his team has had a pretty rough schedule to start the season. They certainly have the ability to win 6 of their next 7 games, which, given their division, would put them right in the middle of the playoff race. I’m going to delay the decision on Singletary until the end of that stretch. If San Francisco is looking at something like a 4-9 record, then perhaps the intense, always entertaining Singletary is on a team that just doesn’t fit his demeanor.

Class B Underachiever

Minnesota Vikings

As Dwight Lowery ran Brett Favre’s interception into the end zone at the end of the week 5 Monday Night Football matchup between the Jets and Vikings, I needed a moment to reflect on the event I just watched. I mean, I was shocked. Did Favre really just throw an ill-advised pass to lose the game for his team, even after Rex Ryan did everything in his power to give the game to Minnesota? No way, I must have seen it wrong. “Show the replay, show the replay,” I screamed at the TV. “That must have been some type of Wildcat pass play, right? Someone other than Favre must have been quarterbacking that train wreck!” To my shock, the replay revealed that, no, it wasn’t some running back/wide receiver that just threw the pick (I pretty much ruled out backup Tavaris Jackson for obvious reasons) but rather, Brett Favre, the best quarterback of all time, just lost the game for the Vikings. Perplexing.

The biggest problem with the Vikings, aside from the fact that their season is resting on the brittle arm/shoulder/leg/penis of their starting quarterback, is that all their talent just cannot formulate the way it should. There is no question that Minnesota has one of the best collections of individual talent in the NFL, but likewise, there is no question that Minnesota has WASTED one of the best collections of individual talent in the NFL. Just because I like sorting things in a hierarchical fashion:

Top 5 Most Individually Talented Teams in all Phases of the Game:
5. Green Bay Packers
4. Minnesota Vikings
3. San Diego Chargers
2. New York Jets
1. Dallas Cowboys

But, I digress. When you have the talent for a top 5 rushing attack, a top 5 defense, and a top 5ish passing attack, and probably the number 1 return game, it is inexcusable to have a losing record midway through the season.

Coaching Verdict: Childress recently signed a contract through 2013 so the chances that he will be fired a probably pretty slim. The addition of Moss should make this team better, and, on the off chance that Favre only gives away, say, 2 more games, and makes it through the season long enough that Tavaris Jackson only has the opportunity to cost Minnesota 2 additional games, then they could still actually make it to the postseason. If this is the case, 2010 would be the third straight year Childress has taken Minnesota to the promised land. He can keep the job under 2 conditions.

1. When it comes time to day goodbye to Favre at around week 11 or 12, Childress must have the backbone to say goodbye to his quarterback and not let Favre take control of the situation and dictate the actions of the organization like he has done the past 2 years.


2. Minnesota goes on at least a 4 game wining streak somewhere during this season and finishes 9-7 at worst, which, given the bland NFC, may actually be enough for a playoff spot.

San Diego Chargers

Who’s to blame for this underachievement? According to the Weinberger Team Talent Rankings, the Chargers rest one position above Minnesota, which means, their slow start is even more disappointing. Unlike some of the other teams on this list, the Chargers have faced a who’s who list of overachieving teams, destined for a late-season crumble (Kansas City, Jacksonville, Seattle, Arizona, Oakland, St. Louis). Honestly, the Chargers should be 6-0. But, they aren’t.

I have little respect for Norv’s coaching. I have watched his teams, which are usually highly successful during the regular season, crumble, time and time again, against inferior opposition. His idea of clock management is about as diverse, well conceived, and productive as an average night on The Jersey Shore. The guy has absolutely no clue how to run a 2 minute offense or protect a lead with 5 minutes to go. Want proof? The Chargers have lost all their games by eight or less, aka, one-possession games. This is particularly embarrassing considering the talent of their opposition in all these games. As for the Chargers’ victories, well, those 2 have come by a combined 56 points, aka, a big enough margin of error that Norv was actually incapable of blowing it.

Coaching Verdict: In three seasons in San Diego, Norv Turner has taken his team to the postseason three times, and on two occasions, San Diego won 11 or more games. However, San Diego’s success has been in spite of their coach, not because of him. Turner must frequently handle player disputes to go along with his poor “coaching.” Severing ties with coaches that can’t win when it counts is the current trend (see Mike Brown). I know it probably won’t happen given his new contract, but Norv Turner deserves to be fired by seasons end, baring a miraculous turnaround.

Class A Underachiever

Dallas Cowboys

Simply put, the cowboys have the most talented team in the NFL and have one of the worst records. Dumb penalties, terrible management, and an overall lack of coaching and discipline have plagued them. Moreover, they don’t seem terribly bothered by this fact. Romo’s boyish charm and old-man hat never seem to leave his face, Jerry Jones continues to insist things are fine although everyone knows they are not, and overall there has not been a single high emotion interview. I’m tired of listening to things like this:

Reporter: “Tony, People are beginning to wonder if this team can make the postseason. What are your thoughts?”
Tony: “Well, you know, Andrea, we can’t control what people are saying. All we can do is get ready for our game against the Giants.”

Or This:

Reporter: “Three games this season have been altered by penalties. DeMarcus, where can you go from here?” (DeMarcus, Where = DeMarcus Ware. Funny coincidence)
Ware: “Those things are behind us. We will try to improve”

Honestly, can someone please freak out, just to reassure the fans and media that The Dallas Cowboys actually have a pulse, because right now, I’m beginning to think they’ve already accepted failure and just want to try to fly under the radar as much as possible. Well that’s too bad, because Dallas will never fly under the radar, especially when they’re underachieving at a Class A level. Please, please, please, can someone just react like this:

Reporter: “What are your realistic plans for this season.”
ANYONE: “You know what? I’ll tell you our fuckin’ plans – “
Reporter: “Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you or any – “
ANYONE: “I’m sorry buddy, but you have offended me. And its not just you. Its your entire breed of gossip-hungry, sons of bitches that harass our team week after week, salivating over the fact that America’s team is down the shitter. So, in answer to your intrusion, our plans are to win the Super Bowl. Okay!? And you know what? We’re gonna bash in the fuckin skulls of those pieces of shit Giants we’re playing this week. Once we are done with them, everyone better get ready because we’re coming for you with vengeance! This bullshit is over. We’re the best team in the National Football League and we are ready to let everyone know it. Our little hiatus has come to an end. We’re going to win the Super Bowl. Quote me, fine me, I don’t give a fuck! We are the Dallas Cowboys and we are going to win every game from here on out. This little field day of yours is over. Now. No more comments. In fact, I’m done talking to you cocksuckers until we are in first place of our division, which will come very soon.”

Coaching Verdict: Fired. Done. End of story. Wade Phillips has the most talented team in the league, an owner that will do anything to win, and a brand new stadium and state of the art facilities to run his show. When all those things add up to 1 playoff victory in 3 seasons and a 1-4 record to start this season, the debate over worst coach in the league should end. He honestly should never walk onto a Dallas football field/office/gym/training facility ever again. But then again, it’d probably take him at least a few weeks to realize things were different.

So there you have it. A conclusive analysis of the worst of the worst.


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Why I Can’t Stand Brett Favre

I’m not one to rip someone apart for an extended period of time (maybe sometimes), but this article has been a long time coming. A once highly respected and loved football player has turned his career into a mockery. I said it before and I will say it again, Favre will not complete this disappointing season. Let’s chronicle my displeasure.

Reason 1: “Brett Favre is the best quarterback of all time.”

I have always had a special interest for statistics and records. Some of my earliest and fondest sports memories involve my dad and I talking sports for the duration of lengthy car rides. Actually, it wasn’t so much of “talking sports” as it was an inquisition on his sports knowledge. I’d ask him a wide variety of random, impossible questions that even the greatest of sports enthusiasts would be incapable of answering. “What’s the record for most homeruns in an inning by one team?” “How many touchdowns have the Jets scored ever?” “Will Derek Jeter be a hall of famer (not an obvious answer in 1997)?” “What basketball player has had the most dunks?” “What is the longest punt ever, and who kicked it?” Seriously, these are only a small sample of what my dad would need to endure. Yet, maybe one out of every 10 questions he could answer, or at least tell me some type of anecdote or tidbit of knowledge somehow related to what I was asking, which was good enough for me. Why did I do this? Maybe it’s because when you’re 7 years old your dad is an encyclopedic, infinite knowledge source. Or maybe I was just starting to understand how much I was interested in sports. It’s funny how seemingly insignificant incidents can come to impact one’s life so significantly. Those conversations were the beginning of it all.

So, what does that have to do with Mr. Favre? Statistics and records might be nice and fun to talk about, but you really need to look at them in context (My dad was the first person I ever heard bash on the 1,000 yards rushing achievement. Honestly, every starting back in the league should be able to muster up 65 rushing yards/game. If someone finished their career averaging 65 yards per game, would they get many votes for the hall of fame? I certainly think not. It’s not a mark of consistency, but rather, one of mediocrity and expectancy). It drives me berserk when someone says the infamous, uninformed, and poorly conceived statement, “Brett Favre is the best quarterback of all time.” Please! Best of all time? If by best, you mean, has the record for many passing categories, then yes, he is the best. But I would like to believe it takes more than longevity to be considered the best. I would like to think that the best quarterback of all time wouldn’t have the most interceptions thrown in a career, and nearly 50 more than the next closest (3.3% of his pass attempts have resulted in an interception, that’s 55th all time). I would like to think that the best quarterback of all time would be better than 9th among retired quarterbacks for career passer rating. I would like to think that the best quarterback of all time is better than 18th all time in pass completion percentage.

Now, at this point, if you were a strong critical reader, you’d stop me and say, “Hey, Adam, you just said how you can’t go off stats to accurately assess one’s career. You just used statistics to reject statistics.” Good job, critical reader. I am merely attempting show that statistics can be manipulated in many different ways to prove a point. The truth is, the quarterback position, perhaps more so than in any other professional sport, is dictated by distinct eras. Who is to say Favre is better than Unitas, Bradshaw, Starr, Montana, Marino, Staubach, Brady, or Manning, just to name a few. He is an all time great, and unanimous selection for the hall of fame, but please, refrain from the Gruden-esque superlative. But above all, the reason he is NOT the best quarterback of all time is…

Reason 2: “The Gunslinger Mentality”

Has there ever been a better term describe something so bad? Can someone please explain to me (1.) What the hell does that even mean and (2.) Who was the Brett Favre lover who invented this term? When Brett rolls out to his right and heaves the ball across his body to the left side of the field, ultimately having his pass intercepted and probably run the other way for a touchdown, was that stupid? No, don’t be ridiculous. That was just the gunslinger mentality. When Favre is under intense pressure and elects to try and underhand pass it, but has the ball stripped, was that ill advised? Nope, gunslinger again. When Favre decides not to pass the ball to the wide open underneath guy on third and 1, and instead heaves the ball deep down the field into triple coverage, he acted foolishly, right? You guessed it, he’s jus being a freakin’ gunslinger. Stupid me. And when Brett Favre single-handedly eliminates his team from the playoffs with one terrible decision 2 out of the last 3 years, everyone must say something like, “This guy is a total moron,” right? Incorrect. Instead, analysts, fans, coaches, and all other types of people just say, “Well, you have to live with that, I mean, he’s a gunslinger!” Actually, I disagree. Why do I have to live with his bullshit and then hear people who have the audacity to say, eh, you get what you pay for?

Let’s take a look at how “the best quarterback of all time” can eliminate 2 teams from the playoffs with 2 passes.

2008: http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-playoffs/09000d5d80638d16/Anatomy-of-a-Play-Favre-s-OT-interception
Note, nobody really mentions he had an open receiver for a safe pass, nor gives any major fault to Favre. “The ball must have slipped.”

2010: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoJ_K4Mlt4w
Everyone has seen it a million times, but I still smile every time. At least the pissed Vikings fan has a clue.

Reason number 3: “Its about me, pay attention.”

This one doesn’t require too much explanation. I simply cannot stand listening to the same thing over and over and over again, especially when the current story is not only static, but also seemingly unable to progress for weeks, or in Favre’s case, months. From the time he knocked the Vikings out of the playoffs last January, Favre was hard at work making sure that the he was the top story, rather than the Super Bowl, free agency, or the draft.

Reason 4: “Go to hell Green Bay”

Brett Favre ruined his legacy in Green Bay in a rude, cold, and condescending nature. I have always said that the best fans in the NFL are the cheese heads of Green Bay. Who is Green Bay to have a professional football team, while big cities like L.A., San Antonio, Memphis, and Las Vegas, are without one? Honestly, I have no idea, but that’s what makes the fans so special. Green Bay has approximately 100,000 inhabitants. Lambeau Field holds 72,928. If need be, the entire city could fit into the stadium. They love their football, and in particular, their quarterback. For Favre to give them a big f-you and peace out to NY, only to return to an inter division foe the next 2 years, I mean, that is frozen tundra cold. And what got him so pissed anyways? Was it the fact that Green Bay correctly identified him as past his prime and realized Aaron Rodgers was a stud in the making? I think they knew exactly what they were doing when they kicked his wrinkly ass out of town. Did I mention he left for the Jets?

Reason 5: “Screw you Mangini, I’m going deep”

This one was obviously going to be on the list as it effects me most personally. In fact, I’m still bitter about the way the 2008 Jets season ended. In a career stricken with poor decisions, arrogance, and disregard for the team, reason five still sticks out. After week 12 of the 2008 NFL season, the Jets were 8-3 and regarded as the best team in the AFC. Then, they got Farve-a-fied.

Week 13. Loss, 34-17

Favre’s numbers Less than 10 yards 10 Yards or more
Comp 19 4
Att 32 11
Yds 188 59
TD 0 0
Int 0 1
Rating 76.0 16.9

Why did he keep passing deep? I feel like that kept resulting in failure. Oh, cause he’s a gunslinger, right, ok, never mind. I guess that’s a reason to not feed Thomas Jones the ball, although he had 138 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns in this game. By the way, Peyton Hillis went for 129 yards and a touchdown. For those of you who thought he came out of nowhere this year, he actually had solid numbers before the season. Moving on.

Week 14: Loss, 14-24.

Favre’s line: 20/31, 137 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception. By all comparisons, relatively harmless. Perhaps that’s the most tragic part.

Week 15: Win, 31-27.

Only because it was against the pitiful Bills were the Jets able to get a win, thanks to a defensive score at the end of the game. Favre, to his credit, did his part to hand the Jet’s their third straight loss (17/30, 207 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions). You can’t say he didn’t try.

Week 16: Loss, 13-3.

18/31, 187 yards, 0 touchdowns, 2 interceptions. Now there’s the determination we missed in week 15! Favre managed to bring the Jets record down to 9-6, and his numbers over the 4 games stretch to an abysmal 1 touchdown vs. 6 interceptions. All of this against a 3-11 Seahawks team.

Week 17: Loss, 24-17.

To highlight Favre’s disregard for the team and his gunslinger mentality, he put up a disgraceful 20/40, 233 yards, 1 touchdown, 3 interception performance. Why throw it 40 times? Who knows. But, what I do know, is this loss to Miami put the final nail in the coffin that was the NYJ season.

Favre’s numbers for the final 12 games? 9 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. I want to vomit just writing about this.

And then, to top off this awful season ending performance, Favre would later make the claim that the Jets knew he was injured and did not include in him on injury reports or inform other teams of the injury. As if that would have made any difference. Let’s just pretend that the Jets medical staff told Favre he was injured and that they suggested he not play, which very well could have happened. Given this situation would Favre have said,

A. “You know what, guys, I think you’re right. You’ll probably need me at my best in the playoffs so why don’t I sit out the next game or two. I’m sure you will be able to beat the lowly Seahawks and Bills, especially with Thomas Jones and all having another great year. After all, I’m almost 40 years old!”

Or, could Favre possibly have said,

B. “You have got to be kidding me. The only reason I came to this stupid organization is to show Green Bay that I can still play ball. If I sit out a game, think about how stupid I’d look! Not only will the greatest record in professional sports, my consecutive games streak, end, but everyone’s gonna start to say, ‘Hey, that Brett Favre, I think it’s time for him to retire already.’ No way; I’m playing next game, and the one after that, and the one after that. Why? Because I’m Brett Motherfuckin’ Favre, the gunslinger, and I ain’t gonna let some low level organization ruin me. In fact, don’t even put me on the injury report. Brett Favre don’t get hurt.”

Favre cares only about his own records, such as touchdowns and yards, but no record means as much to Brett as his starting streak, that is, except for perhaps the single season sack record.

Reason 6: “I’m not just a gunslinging great, I can play God too!”

In 2001, Giants defensive end, Michael Strahan, was in pursuit of the single season sack record of 22, which at the time was held my Mark Gastineau. Sitting on 21.5 and entering the last game of the season, he spoke briefly with Favre before the game began. They spoke again towards the end of the game and on the following play, in perhaps the greatest evidence for sports conspiracy of all time, Favre ran a play action play, and rolled to his right, where Strahan was waiting to sack him. The sack would have counted in a 2-hand-touch football game, as he slid down and Strahan merely needed to touch him. See it all in this intriguing video and let’s see if something looks a little unusual at the 1:50 mark…

The most frustrating part of this is that, for all we know, Strahan could have legitimately sacked Favre at some point, giving his record real credibility. Yet, for whatever reason, Favre decided that the season Strahan had was better than that of Mark Gastineau. Who is he to make such a decision? I suppose this just goes to further show that for Favre, personal records trump winning. After all, what professional quarterback would intentionally get sacked? The same professional quarterback who plays football in his backyard with a bunch of middle-aged men.

Reason 7: “I’m comfortable in jeans that are tough. I’m conformable in jeans that last. I’m comfortable in Wrangler, real comfortable.”

Give. Me. A. Break. Honestly, Brett Favre in a Wrangler jeans commercial playing highly organized football with offensive and defensive lines out back in the mud with his truck, dog, and his middle-aged redneck friends… this is the most nauseating commercial I’ve ever seen. But then again, I guess he isn’t exactly taking it easy during all those OTA’s, training camp, and preseason games. Clearly, he’s just having his own football game in his real, comfortable, jeans. No doubt, even in this type of game he makes some serious dumb, oh sorry, gunslinger moves.